Business Inspiration Uncategorized

Overcoming the Fear of Risk

“Dad, I want to be a live mannequin model in a department store. Would you take me to New Brunswick, so I can introduce myself to the store managers and see if they want to hire me to wear their clothes in the store window and pose like a mannequin?”

Although my Dad viewed this as naive and risky, with a high probability of rejection, he never showed it. As I walked into each store, with my resume and standard headshot in hand and asked to speak with the owners, no one took me up on my offer. I was 13. Risky – yes. But what did I really have to lose?  

After high school, I landed an acting job at the Sight & Sound Theatre, the largest faith-based theater in the nation. With live animals, large casts and crews, spectacular pageantry, the New York Times called it “Bible Broadway”. In 1995, I was cast in a show called the Splendor of Easter, a spring production that featured dancing and singing woodland animals in Act One and the story of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection in Act Two. As a female, supporting cast member, there was little for me to do in Act 2, as the story focused on the disciples and Jesus, so I would put back on my red polyester vest and bowtie and head to the back of the theater to help usher customer’s back to their seats after intermission.  Then I would watch Act 2 on a folding chair in the back of the theatre.  I made it my habit to analyze the characters and observe the audience’s reactions as the story unfolded.

One day, I heard a folding chair open quietly next to mine. I was startled to see Glenn Eshelman, founder and owner of the Sight & Sound enterprise, sit down next to me. I knew this man to be a visionary, a photographer, producer, artist, writer, and a man of strong opinions and mission. He built his legacy from the ground up. He nodded his head acknowledging me.  In his hand, he had yellow tablet and pen. We watched the show in silence.

A few days later, he returned with the same folding chair with the same yellow notebook. As the first musical number of Act Two began, Glenn leaned over next to me and whispered: “Do you like this show?”.

My thoughts were jumbled. Did I like this show…? Did I really like this show? Well Mr. Producer, Owner and Signer of my paycheck, I certainly like working here. I really like getting a paycheck for performing. I like the clout that this place gives me.

But I did not like the show. In fact, I hated the show. The characters were clunky, the audiences did not respond well to it, and the woodland animals in Act One were painful to watch.

 I was at a crossroads; there was a potential risk. Would I tell him the truth? I had been sitting in the back of the theater for a month making my own mental notes of things I would change if I were the boss.  

I took a breath. “No, I do not like the show. I think we can do more with it.”

“What would you do differently?” he asked, pen in hand.

I was nervous. Here I was, I was in my very early 20s, and this was my first professional job. I was a contracted supporting cast member, with little acting schooling. I moved 100 miles from home to work here. I had friends, a budding romance, and the respect of folks back home.

But I wanted to be honest.  So, I shared all the things I did not like and some things I did. I gave him alternatives to things that I did not like. He scribbled a few notes on his yellow tablet and at the end of the show thanked me for being observant and went back to his office.

 About week later, our entire cast of 60 people, the live horses and various live animals were called in for a “special rehearsal”.  As I stood on stage, as Woman #3, I watched as directors made many of the exact changes I suggested to the Owner a few days before.

 The show became a bit more interesting. The actors seemed pleased with the recent changes, and audience numbers picked up. Shortly thereafter, the owner began tapping me asking my thoughts on various new productions in the works.  One day, he asked me to join the Producing Group for a brainstorming meeting on a new show, The Miracle of Christmas. Risky, but I said yes.  I walked into his corner office and there at the conference table was a group middle-aged male executives. I was 22 years old and beyond a few articles for local magazines, I had never written anything professionally before.

After the brainstorming meeting, the Glenn asked me if I would be willing to become a member of the producing group to help write the script for the Miracle of Christmas. He said they needed a young woman’s perspective and voice into the script.  I was dumbfounded. I did not feel qualified. I was worried about what cast members and directors might think. If I said yes, this was going to change things. There was risk again. Staring me in the face.

My Family Anticipates Watching the Show I Helped Write Over Twenty Years ago.

But for some reason, Glenn believed in me and saw my potential. He was encouraging and empowered me. Over the months that followed, it was challenging and rewarding to work in collaboration with these men and to see my own voice and perspective on the page. Accepting that risk was without a doubt a building block for my professional career and personal confidence.

This week, over 20 years later, I find myself sitting in the 2,000-seat theatre, watching the Miracle of Christmas live on stage. It has been tweaked a bit over the years, but most of the show I can still quote word for word. Beside me sits my supportive husband, daughter, my awesome parents who always believed in me no matter what, and my 10-year-old son, who sits with wide-eyed with wonder as he watched a production that I played a small part in bringing to life on the stage from its earliest inception.

In hindsight, that cold Spring afternoon when I was asked “Do you like this the show?”, I could not have said my response would be a stepping stone in my varied career.  Using emotional intelligence to assess risk in the moment and confidence in what I can potentially bring to the table has repeated itself time and again in my professional career. As business people, we cannot allow potential opportunities to pass us by because of our own neurosis, lack of experience, or insecurity. We only get one life and we must be determined to make the most of opportunities no matter where and when they present themselves.


Kristen Hertzog is a Performance Coach, award-winning Speaker and COO of Hertzog Homestead Bed & Breakfast, Event Venue and Spa Cottage in Lancaster County, PA.

Business Inspiration Presentation Uncategorized

Performance Coach Kristen Hertzog – The Art of Customer Service (an Interview with Caleb Bressler from the Amish Experience)

What is the Art of Customer Service?  Understanding this is the key for those of us who work in the service industry.  Performance Coach Kristen Hertzog reveals the art of customer service in this interview with Caleb Bressler from the Amish Experience.

To find out more about the Amish Experience, please visit:

Inspiration Link Uncategorized

The Value of Your Contributions

Do you wonder about the value of your contributions in this great big world of ours? So did Winston Churchill! “The earth is yours and the fullness thereof. Be kind but be fierce, you are needed now more than ever, take up the mantle of change, for this is your time.”

For more inspiration on how a flawed man became a great leader, visit BBC.

Photo Copyright Dale Ebersole

Inspiration Nonprofit Uncategorized Video

Have Mission Groups Helped or Hindered Sustainable Work in Developing Countries?

Question: Do you think missions groups have helped or hindered sustainable work in developing countries?  I was honored to chosen as a consultant for the International Fine Arts Fund and their upcoming documentary film “Haiti, Children of the Promise“, a retrospective on Christian Missions in Haiti.  Check out the trailer here:    

Business Presentation Uncategorized

The Next Speaker for Your Event is Here!

Are you looking for a motivational and empowering speaker for your next event? Check it out on SpeakerHub!

Business Presentation Uncategorized

Networking/Seminar Event: Essential Skills of Dynamic Public Speaking

On January 18, 2o18, International Performance Coach, and award-winning business owner, Kristen Hertzog will host a business seminar event: Essential Skills of Dynamic Public Speaking. For over twenty-five years, Kristen has been communicating her brand of empowerment and motivating people through speaking engagements, business and life advice, leadership development, inspirational singing, acting, and writing.

Located at the award-winning Hertzog Homestead Bed & Breakfast, you will enjoy light appetizers and the opportunity to enjoy a glass of Hertzog Reserve Red, her signature wine label, in partnership with Nissley Vineyards. This event is free, but advance registration is required. You can register here!

Out of the area? Stay at Hertzog Homestead Bed & Breakfast, book now at: Use code: COACHSEM15OFF for a 15% discount on your stay.

Event Time Line:

4:00 PM – 4:30 PM: Arrival and welcome, appetizers and wine, networking

4:30 PM – 5 PM: Essential Skills of Dynamic Public Speaking Seminar

5:15 PM – 5:30 PM: Q and A with Kristen

5:30 PM – 6 PM: networking and mini-tours of Hertzog Homestead property

Inspiration Uncategorized

Top 5 Things NOT To Do at a Bed & Breakfast

Secret Pet Peeves of Innkeepers Revealed!

Are you new to the etiquette of staying at bed-and-breakfast? Each one is unique and no two are the same. First, how is a hotel different from a B&B?

  • Most “B&B’s” are 3-5 rooms. An “Inn” is often larger, some are 8-12 rooms.
  • Usually the Innkeeper is the owner, you’re not dealing with some large corporation.
  • While the price of a B&B might seem higher than a hotel at times, the actual value is much greater. Most B&B’s serve a wonderful breakfast, so when you figure you won’t have to spend $30+ dining out, it’s a pretty good deal. Many B&B’s, offer complimentary wine, cold and hot beverages, local snacks, free wireless, free parking and other perks.
  • The accommodations and amenities at a B&B are almost always superior to that of a hotel…better linens, bedding, furniture, etc. At our B&B, we have the Hertzog Home Spa Collection, our own small batch, luxury spa line of lotions, soaps, shampoos and more for purchase. (
  • Innkeepers are a wealth of knowledge, from great restaurants to wineries and tourist attractions—a built-in concierge if you will.

Again, each Bed and Breakfast is completely unique, which is part of the charm and excitement of the experience. Unless you’re staying in a really high-end resort, a hotel room is often typical and boring. At a B&B, each room has distinctive, thoughtful decor. For example, at Hertzog Homestead, all suites have their own theme (romantic, historic, contemporary and Amish), as well as our treasured family antiques, private bathrooms and entrances and a private Amish made breakfast overlooking farmland views.

DRUMROLL PLEASE… Here are the top five things NOT to do while staying at a B&B. This list was compiled with the help of Mike Schbic of Mikes Road Trip and my fellow innkeeper friends in Lancaster County, PA:

1. SHOW UP BEFORE CHECK IN TIME: Unlike hotels where there is usually someone at the reservations desk, a B&B is run by a small business owner who has to juggle many things, including setting the “stage” for your arrival. Check-in time usually between 4 PM – 6 PM. If you can’t arrive within that time, mention it at time of booking your reservation or text/call to let us know, so that we can prepare an express check-in. While a late arrival may be acceptable, arriving early and expecting check-in without notice does not give us time to adequately prepare for your visit. Often, innkeepers are at the store or cleaning rooms and thrown off by not having the “stage” set for you.

2. TREAT IT LIKE A COLLEGE DORM ROOM: The Innkeeper probably lives here. Be kind to the property as if is your own. Don’t shine your shoes with the Turkish towels, or drape wet ones on finely crafted wood furniture. Drying your underwear on the ceiling fan may also be a bit too much! (Yes, this happened.) Although the Innkeeper is honored to serve you, our guest, and does not expect gratuity… if you find yourself at a B&B that has a small tipping envelope in your room, it is customary to leave the housekeeping staff your appreciation in the envelope, on the day you check out.

3. DON’T TELL US YOU HAVE DIETARY RESTRICTIONS: Gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian? No problem! Simply let us know in advance. Most B&B’s prepare certain breakfast dishes the day before. Share any dietary restrictions at the time of booking your reservation, so we can adequately prepare alternatives and have time to shop for ingredients.

4. DON’T BOTHER REVIEWING THE B&B WEBSITE: Its always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the vibe of the B&B through their website. Be mindful of the rules and regulations, some B&B’s are kid-free, pet-free and/or smoke-free zones. Read the rules prior to booking your reservation, that way your expectations will be met and so will that of your Innkeeper. Please don’t just show up with your elderly cat or screaming toddler in tow. (Yes, these scenarios have also happened.)

5. THINK OF THE B&B AS A CORPORATE BUSINESS. A Bed and Breakfast is typically a mom & pop small business, so we simply do not have the resources or margins that a larger hotel might have. You may see discounted prices during off-peak periods but it’s customary not to negotiate prices with your Innkeeper, unless maybe you’re staying for an extended period of time.

I hope this overview will help manage your expectations the next time you consider staying at a bed and breakfast…it can be a wonderful and unforgettable experience!

Kristen Hertzog is a Performance Coach and Co-Owner/Innkeeper of the award-winning Hertzog Homestead Bed & Breakfast in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Now in its 15th year, Hertzog Homestead also includes a rustic barn event venue and quaint spa cottage offering holistic options.

Business Uncategorized

Connecting with My Business on

“It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.” – Scott Belsky, co-founder of Behance… I love to make ideas happen! Please check out and like my business, where I make my ideas happen: the award-winning Hertzog Homestead Bed & Breakfast, Event Venue, and Spa Cottage.  I would love to have you connect on Linkedin.

Nonprofit Uncategorized

Kristen’s Tips: Charitable Giving: What You Need to Know

Last evening, I spoke at an event about how to give towards causes that you are passionate about. So many organizations have great websites and inspiring photos and videos of the work they do. November and December are two of the biggest months for charitable giving and organizations are preparing now for their final push to their networks. If you are a discriminating giver, here are Kristen’s tips that can help you choose wisely:

Get out there: I always encourage people to get involved and see an organization in action. You can learn a lot by being involved and donating some time to help out, prior to significant financial giving. Before giving to the local food bank, spend some time dishing up soup. If it’s an international nonprofit, I encourage you to take a trip to see the work firsthand, it’s leaders in action, and if there are holes in fulfilling the mission and goals.

Recently, I was doing consulting work for an international documentary film and traveled to Haiti along with the film crew. As a business development professional who has worked in nonprofit and for-profit sectors in Haiti for many years, I had the opportunity to tap some of my colleagues to contribute to this film.

To witness an organization’s work on a “regular day” level can be telling. It can be inspirational and empowering to see the results a well-facilitated organization. Asking questions not only about the leadership, but those being served and their perspectives on the work of the organization can sometimes show holes in the infrastructure and where financial giving could be designated in the future. It could also show gaping chasms in infrastructure, transparency, and organization that may make you grateful to walk away after the visit and before investing financially.

Do your research. Guide Star ( has records of close to 2 million nonprofit organization’s registered with the Internal Revenue Service. There is a free section of this website that allows you to check out non-profit organization’s Form 990, which is the basic filing document for all nonprofits. Here, you will be able to see the charities income, spending, mission and leaders salaries.

We all want to see our charitable funds go towards causes we care about, and more importantly, that are making a sustainable difference. Get involved and do your research. There is nothing wrong with “shopping around” for the organization that’s right for you. Once you have done your due diligence, give generously to causes that make a difference and make a difference in the lives of others!

Inspiration Uncategorized

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am grateful today to those who have empowered me, inspired me, and encouraged me in my life and career journey. May your Thanksgiving day be filled with gratitude and optimism as you continue on your own path! Photo of Hertzog Homestead by Dale Ebersole